My children (along with the kids at our church) are working to raise money for Kids Against Hunger. In January, we will package 20,000 meals to be dispersed to those dying of starvation. I love this very real way for my own children to be involved in helping others. In order to do this, we need to raise $5,000. My five-year-old has no trouble talking to people about anything at all – family, friends, and strangers, alike. My eight-year-old, however, is just like I was at her age. She is quiet, introverted, and gets very nervous when she has to be the one to initiate a conversation. We have asked her to educate her relatives about Kids Against Hunger. She balks at the idea, cringes at the suggestion, and tries to find every way out of it. We remind her that she is the voice for the voiceless. We remind her that these are aunts/uncles/grandparents who love her. We remind her that the worse that can happen is that they say they can’t donate right now. Still, when the time comes, she hesitates. She mumbles to me under her breath asking again why she has to do this. She takes her five-year-old brother with her as back-up. That night, she tells us that when she was talking to Aunt Donna, she was sweaty and her stomach hurt. She is not looking forward to the next family gathering on Sunday. We try to reassure her that it will get easier every time she tells someone new.
I see her position much like my own this year. This school year I have found myself leading meetings with teachers from my previous school (friends and family). I have led discussions with teachers who used to teach me. I have shared ideas with district administrators (strangers at the beginning of this year). While, I am still somewhat of an introvert, I am growing into this position. I shared with my daughter that I still get a bit overheated when I’m presenting in front of a group. Many times, my face stays red throughout the entire session. But there is a difference now. I enjoy this. I’m energized by it. I have a message to share with them. I’m excited to tell them what I have learned. I can only tell my daughter that I have found that it gets easier each time.
Many of the teachers in our school district are trying new things this year. They are teaching new math curriculum, new science curriculum, transitioning to Common Core State Standards, integrating more technology into their curriculum, setting up a blog for the first time (tongue in cheek). It’s a time of uneasiness all around. We want to help our students learn and grow as much as possible. We want to prepare them for life after this school year. We want to be the constant in their lives. It’s difficult at times, it’s uncomfortable, but it’s worth it. We grow the most in times of struggle. All I can say is, trust me…it gets easier.